CITY COUNCIL AGENDA NOW AVAILABLE
The agenda for next Tuesday's Costa Mesa City Council meeting was released earlier today. As it's presently concocted it shows some interesting items, none of which are another end run to put Jim Righeimer's Charter on the June ballot. However, there's still time, so don't blink. The Closed Session begins at 5:00 and the regular meeting begins at 6:00 - depending on how briskly they move through the Closed Session. You can read the agenda HERE.
MORE LEGAL STUFF
Of interest is the fact that there are four (4) items scheduled for the closed session portion. As has been the case for months, one item is a conference with CEO Tom Hatch on labor negotiations. The remaining three are - no surprise here - all dealing with existing or anticipated litigation. Lawyers all over Southern California are smiling a lot these days.
CONSENT CALENDAR AND BOOZE LICENSES
The Consent Calendar - those items that would normally just be voted upon as a group - contain some interesting pearls. For example, the "Reading Folder" contains two requests for Alcohol Beverage Control licenses. One for the old Marie Callendar's in the 300 block of East 17th Street and the other is for Skosh Monahan's gin joint. I wonder what that one's all about? There have been rumors about a change of ownership - that maybe Monahan found a mountain of cash and bought out his partners recently - but we don't know. We have only enough information to raise more questions. Maybe Monahan will tell us about it Tuesday. Yeah, right!
MORE LEGAL FEES PAID
There are two Warrants for our review, #2415, HERE and #2416, HERE. The latter has some good scoop for you. We have paid Jones & Mayer - our contract City Attorney outfit - $120,637.20 this time around - up by a significant amount from the previous month. We continue to rack up legal fees with them, alone, that nearly double the budget. There is also a charge from Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for almost $18,000 for personnel help. More on that outfit later...
FAIRGROUNDS-RELATED POLICE OVERTIME
There are two items authorizing agreements with the 32 Agriculture District - the Orange County Fair Board - for Traffic Management Services. The first one, HERE, is for an amount not to exceed $380,000 for the Fair itself. The second one is for an amount not to exceed $70,000 for "interim events" for the twelve months beginning April 1, 2012, HERE. Both represent costs to cover police services - one of the things this council conveniently forgets when they're yapping about overtime. Our police provide the protection - usually using overtime - and the Fair Board pays the bill. It DOES NOT come out of the General Fund budget.
ANOTHER OPEN-ENDED LEGAL DEAL!
The 7th item on the Consent Calendar is an agreement with the aforementioned Liebert Cassidy Whitmore for "special legal services pertaining to employment relations matters." This is another of this councils open-ended legal deals where we may pay up to $300 per hour for lawyers and $1.40 per hour for paralegal services - with no cap on the charges. Read about it HERE. Oh, yes - we're also going to pay $.15 per page to make copies and $.50 per page for faxes! And, even better, this deal is backdated to January 13th, 2012! How does that kind of thing happen?
FAIRVIEW CHANNEL MULTIPURPOSE TRAIL GRANT
Near the end of the Consent Calendar is an item requesting the council approve the paperwork necessary to receive the final grant funds for the Fairview Channel Multipurpose Trail, which is scheduled to be completed in August, 2012, HERE. The City received a grant for $500,000 and contributed another $321,000 of Park Development Funds for this project.
TARGET STORE HOLIDAY HOURS
There are two public hearings presently scheduled. The first deals with the Target Store's request for holiday hour changes, HERE. You may recall the hub-bub caused at the end of last year on this issue. Neighbors brought this to the council because they felt the conditions of approval for the operations of the store had been intentionally, arrogantly violated. Having heard all the hearings on this, I agree. We'll see what the council does with this one.
CONDOS BECOME RENTAL UNITS
The second is an amendment to the Master Plan for what used to be the 1901 Newport Plaza development. It was supposed to be 140 condos, including some affordable units. Now, under new ownership, it's 113 rental units. You can read the lengthy staff report and attachments HERE.
ANNUAL PERFORMANCE AUDIT
There is one item of Old Business - Steve Mensinger's scheme for the implementation of an annual performance audit process. You can read that staff report HERE. Assistant CEO Rick Francis is the honcho on this project, so it will be the first time for most of us to see him in action. I read the staff report and got a smile from one segment - the one that says:
"1- Does the entity have clearly stated goals and objectives that are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) in nature?"
Now, I'm a guy that loves acronyms, so that "SMART" thing made me smile. I found myself wondering how long it took them to come up with it. AMEN! (Another Mensinger Expendable Notion)
KEEPING SEX OFFENDERS OUT OF PARKS
Under New Business we find a new ordinance to prohibit sex offenders from entering parks and sports facilities. HERE. This is a great idea, especially considering the number of people so-designated that live in our city. See the California Megan's Law link on the right side of this page.
RESCINDING CMFD LAYOFF NOTICES!
The final item on the agenda will make a lot of people in this city happy. The brief staff report, HERE, explains with insufficient detail that the staff recommends the rescission of all layoff notices given to members of the Costa Mesa Fire Department - both sworn and non-sworn. This will be around 100 staffers who will have that dark cloud removed from above their heads.
CHIEF ARNOLD'S PLAN PENDING
What's this all about, you ask? Well, Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold, utilizing his more than 3 decades of fire department management experience, has been working for months on a reorganization plan for the Costa Mesa Fire Department and is just about ready to present it formally to the City Council - either at a Study Session or at a council meeting in the VERY near future. He's been working closely with bargaining unit president Tim Vasin. I hope this plan results in less highly-charged rhetoric and a more conciliatory relationship between the firefighters and the City Council. Frankly, it's kind of hard to trust this council when Jim Righeimer frequently rants about waiting until 2014, when the current contracts expire, at which time he will take care of them! I'm keeping a positive thought about this one.
PROGRESS SHOWN ON CHART
And, so you know, much progress has been made with the remainder of the so-called outsourcing RFPs. You can see that progress on this chart, HERE. You'll notice that several of those items will be discussed at council meetings during May and June. Those discussions should be interesting because the injunction imposed by Judge Barbara Tam Nomoto Schumann is still in place. We'll see.